Leeds-based law firm Milners has urged HR leads to focus “on the words as much as the numbers” when addressing new demands in legislation on staff pay that come into force next month, according to a report by HR News.
Employers will have a duty to reveal average salary difference between male and female staff for the first time under new laws that take effect from April 1st, with companies at risk of being exposed to bad publicity and repetitional damage if they fail to address any disparity.
The legislation surrounding gender pay gap reporting requires employers to publish the information on their own websites every year, with it remaining accessible for at least a further three year period.
Jodie Hill, a commercial and employment law specialist at Milners, told HR News: “This is one of the biggest changes to employment law this year, affecting an estimated one-in-three of the UK workforce, and it’s crucial that businesses get it right and steer clear of this potential pitfall. The press, public and pressure groups will be casting a forensic eye over the data and the window it now offers into staff pay. Firms risk exposure to bad PR and damage to their reputation if they fail to seize the initiative and properly explain the reasons for the disparity. It’s vital they focus on the words as much as the numbers in ensuring compliance.”
The new legislation will require private sector companies who employ 250 staff or more to report the differences in both hourly and annual pay between full-time male and female staff.
Currently, companies in Europe with just 50 or more staff are required to follow the same legislation, and SMEs in the UK are being urged to prepare for laws to be extended and the threshold reduced to include them in the near future.